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BREAKING: Ford announces closing of non-essential construction

Don Wall
BREAKING: Ford announces closing of non-essential construction

Ontario Premier Doug Ford today unveiled a series of escalations in COVID-19 shutdown measures across the province with the construction sector announced as limited to essential projects.

It was the third widespread shutdown of the sector since the pandemic hit the province a year ago, following restrictions in March 2020 and January 2021.

“The reality is there are a few options left,” Ford said. “We have implemented the strictest measures in all of North America, and the difficult truth is every public health measure we have left comes with a massive costs to people in their lives.”

Ford was joined by Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) Monte McNaughton and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, for the announcement, which was twice delayed.

McNaughton explained, “In order to help reduce the spread, we’re shutting down some non-essential construction like shopping malls, hotels, and office towers. However, there are still projects that are critical to our health, like building our homes, our hospitals assessment centres and long term care homes, and we need to ensure those on these sites are being kept safe.”

McNaughton has said in the past he has advocated strongly among his colleagues to keep construction sites open.

Since March 1, 2021, ministry inspectors have conducted 1,800 COVID-19-related field visits in the construction sector and issued over 3,770 orders on those visits and stopped unsafe work 11 times.

A new inspection blitz was launched today, with 200 workplace inspectors set to visit some 1,300 construction sites this weekend. The MLTSD inspectors were to be accompanied by provincial offences officers to ensure health and safety protocols are being maintained.

“Evidence gathered from these inspections continues to show the vast majority of employers and workers in the construction industry are following COVID-19 safety requirements when working,” noted a ministry release.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data indicated that of the more than 20,000 confirmed workplace cases of COVID-19 that have been reported, just over 300 COVID-19 were from construction.

The MLTSD and Ontario’s chief prevention officer launched a campaign of rapid antigen testing at large jobsites to prevent infected workers from accessing the site. To date, approximately 142,000 tests have been undertaken in the construction sector.

The Daily Commercial News will have more on this story.

Recent Comments (11 comments)

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Mike Image Mike

I work for a fence installations company as a commercial and residential chain link installer, does this deem my company essential or non essential?

Jack Jackson Image Jack Jackson

So basically almost nothing has to stop, right? I think that is good but what a meaningless gesture.

Dawn Image Dawn

When you say ‘essential’ what do you mean? Last time 95% of the companies we dealt with stayed open. Someone who doesn’t know the industry decided that if a project had started something like a week before the lockdown, then it could continue. Guess what, all of our dealers order MONTHS in advance so that we have time to produce for them. Therefore, they said their projects could continue. They kept putting new orders in too. Sales actually went up during the lockdown.

Antoinette Ottaviano Image Antoinette Ottaviano

My husband does asphalt coating does this have to be shut down when there r only 2 people that work for our company

Judith Plume Image Judith Plume

I find myself wondering how mines, and the industries thousands of contractors, office workers and sales reps have been deemed essential and are allowed to travel internationally as the industry even in Ontario is seeing outbreak after outbreak and tests are showing the spread of the variant and the increase in community spread. Look at the situation Sudbury. I can only imagine how many contractors haven’t been identified as close contact by administration and, are the sent to another community while sakes reps travel through the country, having face-to-face meetings for weeks on end. Construction should not have been hit so heavy handedly while the mining industry, quietly skirts any restrictions and is making Covid-19 work for them.

Darlene Image Darlene

How about creating an anonymous hotline for reporting non compliance for job sites? Many construction workers are reluctant to speak up and report instances of job sites not practicing safe protocols. Hotlines were easily set up for toilet paper and sanitizer price gauging!? But not for more important reasons.

Kfo Image Kfo

Does this mean closing of quarries, as I work in one, producing topsoil for a company??

A Rolfe Image A Rolfe

SHUT the borders. We’re allowing 200 flights a week into this country 50 from India where the New variant is coming from. We are all being restricted. Makes no sense sense to me. Close the boarders and deal with what we have instead of allowing more people in to spread it. It’s not rocket science.

Claudine Image Claudine

We live in a condo in Sarnia.
Our air conditioner sleeve was supposed to be installed more than a month ago.
Because of some miss measurements, by whom I am not sure , this has been delayed and now Mr Ford has cancelled all unnecessary construction.
This is necessary and we are paying dearly for this.

Gail Iva Young Image Gail Iva Young

Everything is essential just not food bed sheets shoes and curtains everything people needs those things and clothing are essential.

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